Changes to trucking safety regulations now require a commercial truck driver to have two rest periods every time he starts a new work cycle. These changes have helped reduce the effect of fatigue among truck drivers. Those are the findings of a new study commissioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration specifically aimed at establishing the effectiveness of the new regulations.
The change was made last July and required truck drivers to get at least two rest periods at night. These rest periods must occur between the hours of 1 AM and 5 AM. Lawmakers asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct a study investigating the effectiveness of the changes. The study was conducted by Washington State University Sleep and Performance Research Center and confirms that truck drivers who took advantage of two nighttime rest periods were less susceptible to the risk of drowsy driving truck accidents.
There were discernible effects of the new trucking safety regulations on truck driver performance. For instance, the researchers found that truck drivers, who had two rest periods during each break, were less likely to suffer from attention lapses while driving. They also had better lane positioning and were much less likely to veer from their lane while driving, compared to drivers who had just one nighttime rest period.
Overall, the researchers focused on 106 drivers and used data from these drivers between January and July 2013. According to the researchers, the earlier studies that they had conducted for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicated that the older rules did not provide enough opportunities for truck drivers to get sufficient sleep during the night. This new provision helps truck drivers get the required amount of sleep every night. The additional nighttime rest period, according to their findings, gives drivers additional time for recuperation and helps them avoid sleepiness while driving.
Several earlier studies found that fatigue effects a person’s driving abilities in a manner similar to those caused by alcohol intoxication. In other words, the reflexes are slowed and the person’s judgment abilities are impaired. The person is much less likely to read and obey traffic signals and signs when driving in a heavily fatigued or sleepy condition. The consequences of such driving may be much more severe when the driver is at the wheel of a large commercial 18-wheeler or tractor trailer that is capable of inflicting heavy damage in an accident.
The Indiana trucking accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent persons injured in trucking accidents across Indiana. If you have been injured a semi or tractor trailer accident, speak with an attorney at our firm.